Leroy N. Soetoro
2021-02-13 03:02:12 UTC
Gov. Andrew Cuomos top aide privately apologized to Democratic lawmakers
for withholding the states nursing home death toll from COVID-19
telling them we froze out of fear that the true numbers would be used
against us by federal prosecutors, The Post has learned.
The stunning admission of a coverup was made by secretary to the governor
Melissa DeRosa during a video conference call with state Democratic
leaders in which she said the Cuomo administration had rebuffed a
legislative request for the tally in August because right around the same
time, [then-President Donald Trump] turns this into a giant political
football, according to an audio recording of the two-hour-plus meeting.
He starts tweeting that we killed everyone in nursing homes, DeRosa
said. He starts going after [New Jersey Gov. Phil] Murphy, starts going
after [California Gov. Gavin] Newsom, starts going after [Michigan Gov.]
In addition to attacking Cuomos fellow Democratic governors, DeRosa said,
Trump directs the Department of Justice to do an investigation into us.
And basically, we froze, she told the lawmakers on the call.
Because then we were in a position where we werent sure if what we were
going to give to the Department of Justice, or what we give to you guys,
what we start saying, was going to be used against us while we werent
sure if there was going to be an investigation.
DeRosa added: That played a very large role into this.
After dropping the bombshell, DeRosa asked for a little bit of
appreciation of the context and offered what appears to be the Cuomo
administrations first apology for its handling of nursing homes amid the
But instead of a mea culpa to the grieving family members of more than
13,000 dead seniors or the critics who say the Health Department spread
COVID-19 in the care facilities with a March 25 state Health Department
directive that nursing homes admit infected patients, DeRosa tried to make
amends with the fellow Democrats for the political inconvenience it caused
So we do apologize, she said. I do understand the position that you
were put in. I know that it is not fair. It was not our intention to put
you in that political position with the Republicans.
Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan)
immediately rejected DeRosas expression of remorse, according to the
I dont have enough time today to explain all the reasons why I dont
give that any credit at all, said Gottfried, one of the lawmakers who
demanded the death-toll data in August.
State Senate Aging Committee Chairwoman Rachel May (D-Syracuse) who was
battered during her re-election bid last year over the issue of nursing
home deaths also ripped into DeRosa, saying her former opponent had
launched another broadside earlier in the day.
And the issue for me, the biggest issue of all is feeling like I needed
to defend or at least not attack an administration that was appearing
to be covering something up, she said.
And in a, in a pandemic, when you want the public to trust the public
health officials, and there is this clear feeling that theyre not coming,
being forthcoming with you, that is really hard and it remains difficult.
Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens), who took part in the call, told The Post
on Thursday that DeRosas remarks sounded like they admitted that they
were trying to dodge having any incriminating evidence that might put the
administration or the [Health Department] in further trouble with the
Department of Justice.
Thats how I understand their reasoning of why they were unable to share,
in real time, the data, Kim said.
They had to first make sure that the state was protected against federal
Kim, whose uncle is presumed to have died of COVID-19 in a nursing home in
April, also said he wasnt satisfied with DeRosas apology.
Its not enough how contrite they are with us, he said. They need to
show that to the public and the families and they havent done that.
In addition to stonewalling lawmakers on the total number of nursing home
residents killed by COVID-19, Cuomos administration refused requests from
the news media including The Post and fought a Freedom of Information
lawsuit filed by the Empire Center on Public Policy.
Instead, it only disclosed data on the numbers of residents who died in
their nursing homes.
But after state Attorney General Letitia James last month released a
damning report that estimated the deaths of nursing home residents in
hospitals would boost the grim tally by more than 50 percent, Health
Commissioner Howard Zucker finally released figures showing the combined
total was 12,743 as of Jan. 19.
Just a day earlier, the DOH was only publicly acknowledging 8,711 deaths
in nursing homes.
In a Wednesday letter to lawmakers, Zucker said the total number of
nursing home residents killed by COVID-19 had increased to 13,297. That
number jumps to 15,049 when assisted living/adult care facilities are
The controversy generated by James report led to an infamous news
conference at which Cuomo callously dismissed the matter of where nursing
home fatalities actually took place.
Who cares [if they] died in the hospital, died in a nursing home? They
died, he said.
During Wednesdays conference call, DeRosa said it appeared the DOJ was no
longer focused on New Yorks nursing home deaths.
All signs point to they are not looking at this, theyve dropped it, she
They never formally opened an investigation. They sent a letter asking a
number of questions and then we satisfied those questions and it appears
that theyre gone.
In a prepared statement, Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi said, We
explained that the Trump administration was in the midst of a politically
motivated effort to blame democratic states for COVID deaths and that we
were cooperating with Federal document productions and that was the
priority and now that it is over we can address the state legislature.
That said, we were working simultaneously to complete the audit of
information they were asking for, he added.
The DOJ declined to comment.
"LOCKDOWN", left-wing COVID fearmongering. 95% of COVID infections
recover with no after effects.
No collusion - Special Counsel Robert Swan Mueller III, March 2019.
Donald J. Trump, cheated out of a second term by fraudulent "mail-in"
ballots. Report voter fraud: ***@mail.house.gov
Thank you for cleaning up the disaster of the 2008-2017 Obama / Biden
fiasco, President Trump.
Under Barack Obama's leadership, the United States of America became the
The World According To Garp. Obama sold out heterosexuals for Hollywood
queer liberal democrat donors.
President Trump boosted the economy, reduced illegal invasions, appointed
dozens of judges and three SCOTUS justices.